In rural China, rural Ethiopia, and Chennai, India, community surveys found
large numbers of patients who received little or no treatment for
schizophrenia or were receiving traditional remedies.
The survey in Chennai identified a cohort of 261 persons with a diagnosis
of schizophrenia, of whom 28.7 percent had never received treatment even
though they lived in close proximity to public general hospitals with
psychiatric units and to a large mental hospital. Compared with those who had
received treatment, those in the untreated group were, on average, older and
more likely to be unemployed, illiterate, and living in an extended family.
Clinically, the untreated group was more likely to be symptomatic and
suffering from severe global disability.
In rural China a survey identified 510 persons who had a current diagnosis
or history of schizophrenia. Of these, 30.6 percent had never received any
treatment (see FIG1).
In rural Ethiopia a community survey identified 321 persons with
schizophrenia of whom 88.8 percent had never received treatment with
antipsychotic medications. At one- to four-year follow-ups, these individuals
displayed a significantimprovement in positive symptoms, a result attributed
to the antipsychotic medication that was offered free to all of them.
"These findings suggest that good outcomes cannot be assumed for
untreated schizophrenia in low- and middle-income countries and that treatment
does make a significant difference," Alex Cohen, Ph.D., and colleagues
stated in their report in Schizophrenia Bulletin (see Data Refute
Belief About Schizophrenia Outcomes). ▪.